Note to Parents of Lesbian Teens

Being a successful parent is one of the most difficult, yet wonderful challenges any adult can undertake in his or her life. Instilling your child with healthy personality traits—like the ability to love and be loved, take responsibility, admit mistakes, and build trustworthy friendships with peers—can feel overwhelming at times. Learning that your child identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) can make adolescence even more complex.

Note to parents of lesbian teen: if you were raised in a religious or socially conservative household, you may be worried or upset. You may be secretly hoping that she will change her mind, or that it’s “just a phase”, and want her to go to counseling. Just bear in mind that not all counseling is created equal. Many psychological professionals can help your daughter come to terms with who she feels she is, and what she wants and needs. Other types of “counseling” may seek exclusively to undermine her sexual desires and beliefs, encouraging her to believe she is actually heterosexual. Most of these “treatment programs” are not successful; many of them actually can and do cause significant harm.

Note to parents of lesbian teen: it is up to you as the parent to realize that while you may have her best intentions in mind, you cannot control whom your teen is attracted to. What you can do is support her decisions in a loving and supportive way. Insisting on pushing what you feel is best upon your daughter at this vulnerable stage of her life may have extremely negative consequences.